What a sad coincidence!
From Geneva, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms that what we had taken all along as “2019 novel coronavirus” shall from then on be known as “Corona Disease (COVID-19”) and the causative virus is “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2). From the world prefect headquarters in Washington, US State Department issues the “2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on Turkey.”
Along the corona virus lines, the Report dwells on violations, fully symbolizing the political health status in humans. From the perspective of the COVID-19 symptoms the world is being sensitized about, the Report zooms on what it very softly calls “human rights shortcomings.” Their number, “Seven Sections”, sends my mind wandering.
In the first place, the Report, on the one side claims to be dealing with “… shortcomings. “On the other, it claims “taking stock of …” violations.” I fail to understand how one can bring “shortcomings” and “violations” closer in a fully-fledged and well-equipped human rights lab. Violations are wrong doings that have to be condemned, whereas shortcomings are excusable.
The Report goes on to list the Seven Sections as:
- Respect for the integrity of the person.
- Respect for civil liberties.
- Freedom to participate in the political process.
- Corruption and lack of transparency in government.
- Governmental attitude regarding international and investigations of alleged abuses of human rights.
- Discrimination, societal abuses and trafficking of persons.
- Worker rights, thereby providing legal framework as well as government abuses under each section.
These can be termed as “shortcomings” only in a report that does not want to antagonize the friendship between the US and Turkish governments, or rather more precisely between President Ronald Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They have something to share. They did it in Syria, for example.
Secondly, my mind sticks to the figure “seven”. There are seven days in a week. Literature is flooded with historic Seven Wonders of the World in their various versions. Mahatma Gandhi came with Seven Blunders of the World. Egyptians once upon a time went through seven years of bounty and seven years of famine.
Thirdly, my mind jumps to the ongoing Christian Lent calendar event. I wonder if the US State Department Report writers had read the scriptures – Chapter Three of The Kings in particular. I recall a young Jewish woman of the Torah times then working as Naaman’s slave-girl.
Out of compassion for her master, she pleaded with Naaman to seek Prophet Elisha healings for his leprosy. Naaman is said to have been indignant at first. But he eventually did so. And do you know what Elisha instructed him to do? It was to bathe seven times in the Jordan River. He did and he was immediately restored in body and spirit.
Going by what the Report says, particulars of the Seven Sections, if one were to think along the lines of Naaman, are tantamount to political leprosy (virus) of its own kind and worth entry into the Guinness World Records 2019 edition as well. It is time for Charles Wilfred to consider adding the tenth input covering such and related issues. Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Health Sciences, Ecology, Earth Sciences, Cognitive Science, Mathematics and Computer Science alone, are no longer enough.
Just in case you don’t agree with my view, consider and reflect on the following:
- Arresting or imprisoning more than 50,000 citizens. For what?
- Closing more than 1,500 non-governmental organizations on terrorism-related grounds. Imagine the numbers involved.
- Designating Hizmet (service) movement as terrorist and branding it after Fethullah Gulen to prompt the world to believe the existence of FETO (Fethullah Terrorist Organization).
- Arbitrary arrests and suspicious deaths of persons under custody. In numbers, the Report tips on 150,000 investigations with 70,000 cases pending trial. Judges and prosecutors facing prosecution top a 4,500-mark, some of whom 3,500 had been tried – including a Judge of the Constitutional Court. What are the chances of fair trials taking place in these circumstances?
- Membership (even on suspicion) of an opposition political party creating enough ground for ill treatment, some forms of which read to bad taste to the civilized world. It’s only the Report that plucks enough courage to print them.
- What degree of piety or honesty would one expect from anyone in a situation where one has to seek permission of a suspect in order to conduct an investigation, prosecution let alone?
- During the ‘celebrations’ to mark the third anniversary of the ‘coup attempt’, the world is proudly told that since then, 540,000 people had been detained.
With due respect, how could such a number have a part to play in the ‘coup’? Organizationally, how does one contain or hide more than half a million people? Gulen, the chief architect suspect, did not live in Turkey at the time and he is such a person who does not harbor even the ambition of heading a family. What are his chances of craving for that of a Head of State?
If anything, the US State Department Report should help the world to understand why Erdogan takes Gulen and anything real or purported to be about him, as a thorn in his back. For the “Seven Sections” covered in the Report, Gulen has a set of principles made of “Six Points” he claims directly from Islam.
In his book titled “Fethullah Gulen”, “Why a Muslim Scholar in Pennsylvania Matters to the World”, Dr. Jan Pahl, zooming on “A Life of Hizmet” classifies the “Six Points” as:
- Power lies in truth, a repudiation of the common idea that truth relies upon power.
- Justice and rule of law are essential.
- Freedom of belief and rights to life, personal property, reproduction and health (both mental and physical) cannot be violated.
- The privacy and immunity of individual life must be maintained.
- No one can be convicted of a crime without evidence or accused and punished for someone else’s crime.
- An advisory (consultative) system of administration is essential.
The US State Department “2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on Turkey”, looked at against the background of the Hizmet and what is happening on the ground, takes the critical mind back to elementary Biology classroom, differentiating between the properties of living and non-living things.
Along the lines of the contemporary world scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic, one can see the political virus infection stage in Turkey having crossed the public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). That is to borrow a term from the WHO. Otherwise, how did it attract the attention of the world prefect?
Now, the challenge lies in containing it so that it does not develop into an epidemic. Slowly, it is already growing into one. The Turkey ‘politivirus’ is already in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Iran. It is spreading via the Mediterranean Sea to Italy, Greece and Cyprus and via Hungary to the rest of Europe. It has spillovers in Africa.
Some Turkish nationals are trapped (quarantined?) in foreign countries, living in fear of catching their country’s politivirus spread system like forced abductions bordering on the abuse of INTERPOL protocols. The Turkey ‘politivirus’, reported by the US State Department, is a real threat to beware. It has badly affected the delivery of information, justice, education and health services and investment ventures alike at home with spillovers in other parts of the world.